Saturday, January 21, 2017

Scan Results and Decisions

My Cat Scan came back unchanged/stable I guess. Because of this I was given the option to stop chemo for a while, hoping that it would not metastasize in the interim as it did before. This option did not appeal to me. Another option was to take a biologic maintenance drug but no Chemo. There was another option I don't remember exactly what it did though because I already knew I wanted to continue the strong chemo as long as I could hack it. So that's what we did.

Which meant that I had Chemo yesterday. Somewhere around 4 or 4:30 AM I regretted that decision. I have had insomnia the day of chemo for the last 2 or 3 treatments, so that was not a surprise. This week as in the others I focused on managing the side effects, especially nausea. It just got out of hand for a little bit this morning. I ended up going to bed at 7:30 AM and not getting back up till 2 this afternoon. So far so good.

I am also back on the homeopathic regimen as well. It seems to be helping with the side effects.

Looking forward to 2 good games tomorrow.

Hang in,


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Scans, and more Scans

Yesterday I had a CAT Scan to determine the state of the 5 small masses that are the metastasized colon cancer inhabiting my body. The goal of the current chemo treatment is to suppress and if possible kill these little bastards.

I was also on a homeopathic regimen to fight the side effects and possibly kill the cancer, but the supply ran out and I now must find another way to acquire it. I really am disappointed about this. It will require that I start all over. More time and possibly more money will need to go into that effort.

In the meantime I had a much long overdue appointment with my cardiologist. I was having some pains that made me think the old ticker was acting up. It turns out my EKG was normal, that's good. Unfortunately it also turns out that the chemo drug I am taking is noted for weakening the heart muscles. To add to the concern I am due for a 4 year stress test to check on the how my heart is doing after my bypass. That will entail two more highly specialized scans to be done at the heart doctor's location. By the middle of February I may be able to glow in the dark. 

Tomorrow I go in for more blood work ahead of Friday's possible Chemo. It all depends on the results of the scan and the bloodwork. I will have to wait and see.

Other than all the medical crap, I had one other appointment this last week. I took our car in to find out what was going on with the charging system. We thought we might have a bad battery or alternator, the latter costing around $900 installed. Luckily it was none of the above. 

The Dealership, Tempe Chrysler, did a diagnostic, changed the batteries in both our remotes and charged me a grand total to $8.86. I kid you not. Many thanks to my service advisor Torri and Temper Chrysler. They did me a big favor and I appreciate it very much. I was very concerned that now that we were out of warranty it would have been much more.

So if you are thinking that the high point of my week was NOT getting ripped off by my car dealer, well, you're right.

I am a simple man and small things like this please me greatly.

I hope you can find some joy in small things as well.

Hang in,



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chemo Crazy

My Chemo treatment almost didn't happen on Friday , ergo the title of today's post.
At the start of each year we have to pay our deductible and one time family copay before my treatments are 100%  covered. This is usually eaten up in the first month of the year because  of other hospital or doctor's bills.

 The issue we have had for 3 years running with my provider is their credit department wants all that money up  front regardless of whether they should be getting the full amount or bills were already in the pipeline from other providers.

The first year we paid a couple of thousand dollars to my cancer treatment  provider and then had to fight for months to get back the money we overpaid.

So the second  year Vicki told them she would not pay upfront and they should put it through the Insurance first. This way we could pay just what was left for the deductible and the family one time copay of $1000. Vicki and the credit dept fought over this and they did eventually submit to our Insurance first and then billed the exact amount left after other providers ahead of them were paid. In this instance we ended up owing only a hundred bucks and some change after the other providers ahead of them billed us and were paid.

Now again this year the same fight ensued between Vicki and the credit dept. They refused to  budge and sent me an e-mail stating they would cancel my treatments if we did not pay $2750 up front prior to my chemo. Vicki called and the credit person said she had consulted upper management and if we didn't pay up front there would be no treatment. Vicki replied we would change providers and I immediately  started researching other Cancer Treatment Centers. I settled on U of A Cancer Center at St. Joes in Phx, however I wanted to talk my current  Oncologist about this situation before changing after 3 years of chemo, surgery, and radiation with the same place. 

So we showed at 9:00 AM that morning per my  scheduled appointment and were told my appointment and treatment had been cancelled by the credit dept. I explained to the scheduling lady that I wanted to keep my appointment with my Oncologist and after speaking with him we would decide about further treatments. She put me back on the schedule for the appointment.

I should mention my Oncologist is awesome. He is not only a Doctor, but a researcher as well. He is also a great guy. We went over the results of my bloodwork and then I  asked his assistant and Vicki to let the Doctor and I have a private talk. After explaining the issue, I told him that I was concerned about them holding my treatments as hostage instead of following the program and submitting the invoice to our Insurance first. I  also stated we would be changing providers if the credit dept wouldn't follow the program.Then I asked him who was running the place, the Doctors or the Bean Counters. He stated that the Doctors still controlled treatment and I was not the only one with this problem. He then said if the credit gal wouldn't leave me alone he would meet with the managing partner and go from there. 

Luckily he fixed the problem and I got treatment on Friday. We paid the $99  for the office visit because we were pretty sure there was at least that much we hadn't yet paid. The rest of the deductible will be billed through Insurance first so we only pay what is owed.

This incident created a great deal of stress for both Vicki and I. During my conversation with the Oncologist I told him this and my  concern for the transition from private Insurance to Medicare when we retire in April. The last thing we need is more stress.

To add to this I let Vicki know that my condition is considered  chronic. When the doctor and I talked I asked him how long he estimated the treatments would continue. He replied that there was as yet no cure for metastasized colon cancer and I would most likely be in some sort treatment for the rest my life. This brought tears and more stress. It didn't do much for me either.

I will go for a scan before my next appointment and possible treatment on the20th.
My plan is to stay with traditional treatment, stay on my homeopathic regimen and research clinical trials.

As always,

Hang in.


PS: It's 20 minutes after 5 and I have not yet slept. So please excuse any grammar, formatting, or spelling errors. I have proofed this several times but each time I find something to change.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

So Long 2016

No doubt there are those among us who think 2016 was a terrible year. The continuing attacks and bombings by what we call terrorists and I call just murdering criminal bastards (But hey, that's just me), fires and drought here in the west, floods in the east and lots of celebrities passing and of course our crazy election.

Yep it was a bunch of fun.  The stock market didn't care. If you were fortunate enough to still have some good investments, then you made money this year. (On paper at least) Remember it's just bullshit till you cash out, so be careful in 2017 . I tried my hand at trading back in 2008 and I was really bad at it.

We had some challenges this year. Vicki's company moved her to their airport location along with several hundred other employees that were in the downtown Tempe location. This impacted our commute and added time to our work days. With just 4 months left to retirement she is hanging in there and making the commute by herself these days.

In addition Vicki had two major operations this year and is still recovering from the last one. I started my 5th round of chemo and have had 8 or 9 treatments so far and have them scheduled through January of 2017.

I went out on short term disability and will most likely not return to work. 

Then of course there were all the normal hassles and crap that comes from our modern life. Our new car was damaged by road debris on the freeway and two weeks and $3000 later we had it back with a custom grill. Looked great, but the damn thing whistled above 55 miles per hour. It took another month to prove it to the manufacturer, get a different one (better looking in my opinion) that didn't  whistle. Then I had to find another body shop to do the work. It turned out OK in the end but it took a while.

So, you might think I am among those who think 2016 was a bad year. Maybe it was, but Vicki says 2017 is going to be our year. I'll focus on that. Also I am pretty happy that Vicki and I made it through this year. 

Last but not least, we celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary this month and that's all good.

If your 2016 sucked, sorry. Get over yourself and have a great 2017. If your 2016 was good or at least not terrible, congratulations. You just need to keep up the good work.

We are looking forward to good health and retirement this year. Whatever you have planned for the coming year I wish you good fortune.

Hang in there, after all it worked last year didn't it?